Introduction. Pérola, the most important cultivar in Brazil and almost
unknown in other countries, and Smooth Cayenne, the most grown cultivar in the world,
belong to different pineapple groups with distinct botanical, morphological and agronomic
characteristics. The principal characteristics and behavior of the cv. Pérola pineapple
were analyzed, in comparison with the cv. Smooth Cayenne ones. Materials and methods.
A comparison between Pérola and Smooth Cayenne was done, based upon results and
observations made in studies carried out by Embrapa in Brazil, during the past 20 years.
Results and discussion. The cv. Pérola plant usually has a smaller stem than the cv.
Smooth Cayenne with a lower number of roots and leaves, but the `D' leaves are longer,
wider and more erect. The peduncle is longer, holding a narrower, longer, cone-shaped
fruit, with a whitish, less fibrous flesh and edible central core, lower acidity and
higher [(total soluble solids) / (titrable acidity)] ratio and juice content. The cv.
Pérola is more sensitive than the cv. Smooth Cayenne to natural and artificial
flowering induction, but it is less susceptible to the wilt disease transmitted by
mealy bugs and to the stem borer (Castnia icarus). Cv. Pérola produces many slips,
but suckers appear later, are less uniform and less well-fixed to the mother plants,
making it more difficult to get a good first ratoon crop. Conclusions. The yield
potential of the cv. Pérola is lower than that of the cv. Smooth Cayenne, due to a
lighter fruit and usually lower planting density used. Its production costs are also
lower, especially due to cheaper planting materials and a lower number of pesticide
applications. The overall performance of the cv. Pérola plants and fruits explains
the wide use of this variety in Brazil and its potential use in other countries.